October 6, 2008
Matt Peddycord

NWA Bunkhouse Stampede ‘88
January 24, 1988
Uniondale, NY
Nassau Coliseum

Just when JCP thought it was safe to air a PPV without McMahon coming along and tricking the cable companies into choosing to air his PPVs over the NWA’s PPV, Vince airs a free show with the debut of the Royal Rumble over on the USA network. No biggie though, the card wasn’t even that good to begin with and a less than mediocre WrestleMania card was coming.

Your hosts are Jim Ross and Bob Caudle!

NWA World Television Champion Nikita Koloff vs. Bobby Eaton (w/Jim Cornette)

Tony Schiavone is playing Gary Michael Capetta tonight. Bobby is one-half of the US tag champs here. Real slow to start. Eaton talks with Cornette a lot. Koloff works the arm, but Eaton breaks free and kicks him out to ringside. Eaton tries a turnbuckle smash, but Koloff puts on the brakes and whips Eaton into the ringpost. Koloff escapes out of a headlock and powerslams Eaton down. More Eaton headlock action follows. They go to the floor and Koloff shoves Eaton into the ringpost. Koloff shoulder-posts him and then hiptosses him on the concrete. Eaton cheapshots to take over and then hits an elbow drop off the ropes for two. Koloff elbows out of a looong hammerlock, but Eaton buries a knee to slow Koloff down. Missile dropkick connects for 1-2-NO! Back to the hammerlock. Cornette puts the bad mouth on Koloff, which makes the resthold not quite as boring. Koloff feeds off the Long Islanders and elbows out. He hits the SICKLE, but not good enough to put Eaton away. Eaton grabs Koloff by the arm and drops down into another hammerlock. That eats up another good chunk of time before Koloff stands up and makes the ropes. Koloff fires back on Eaton with thirty seconds left. Ten-count corner punches follow and Koloff hits the SICKLE full-on as the time limit expires. (20:00) Cornette unsuccessfully goes after Koloff and hands over the racket, but Eaton steals it away and beats Koloff down. Stan Lane comes in to assist Eaton in the mugging as the crowd chants Dusty. This was 75% restholds and 25% action. I’m a huge mark for both guys, but they were just phoning it in here. **¼

NWA Western States Heritage Champion Barry Windham vs. Larry Zbyszko (w/Baby Doll)

Yeah, Baby Doll (who doesn’t look half bad here, by the way) managed Larry Z and then was fired by Dusty (for the second time) because of her marriage to then-WWF wrestler Sam Houston. According to Dusty, it was a conflict of interest type of thing. According to the old reliable (har har) Wikipedia, Baby Doll is now working as a security guard at Wal-Mart. Take it with a grain of salt though, because it is coming from Wikipedia. Anyways, the Horsemen have attacked Windham’s knee which is going to be Zbyszko’s gameplan all night long. Windham controls to start with armdrags, shoulderblocks and hiptosses until Zbyszko takes a walk. Back in, Z goes after the knee and Windham pulls on Larry’s hair to get him to break the kneebar. Larry applies a hammerlock and keeps Windham from reversing, but falls for the fireman’s carry takeover. Larry tries to sneak in that reverse kick, but Barry grab his foot and spins him around for an atomic drop to send Zbyszko out on the floor again. Back in again, Zbyszko goes back after Windham’s knee and hooks a kneebar. Windham escapes that, but takes a drop toehold and get caught in a half-crab/anklelock type hold. Windham stands up out of that and delivers an enziguri. Powerslam from Windham gets two. Windham heads up top for the elbow drop, but that never hits for him as this time is no different. Zbyszko’s back on the knee. Windham stands up again, but this time Zbyszko gets the reverse kick in and a backbreaker gets two. Windham gets out of that half-crab/anklelock hold again and wins a slugfest and connects with a dropkick. Windham tries for a suplex, but his knee buckles and Z gets two. Gutwrench suplex from Windham gets two. Now Windham has the Sleeper, but Zbyszko makes the ropes. Larry rolls out and Windham follows him, but gets shoved off into the ringpost. Larry gets back in, but Windham wakes up and trips up Larry to crotch him on the ringpost. Back in, Windham goes for the kill with the Lariat, but Zbyszko collapses and Windham flies out to the floor! Zbyszko smashes Windham’s face on a ringside table. Windham lays down on the table and Public Enemy runs in and makes their NWA debut as Rocco Rock delivers a FLIP DIVE ONTO THE TABLE!!! WINDHAM’S GOTTA BE DEAD!!! Just kidding. Back in, Zbyszko blocks a sunset flip with a right hand for two. Zbyszko tries for a swinging neckbreaker, but Windham counters into a backslide for two. Z wants a piledriver, but Windham backdrops out. Double-KO! Zbyszko misses a corner charge and so Windham follows up with a ten-count corner punch. The ref gets squashed by Z and Windham rolls him up for nothing! Windham goes over to wake up the ref while Baby Doll hands Larry her shoe. Windham turns around and pow right in the kisser. Cover, 1-2-3. (19:16) New champ! This would be the last time the WSH title would be defended on PPV, but not the last time the belt would appear on PPV. When Flair left in ’91, the WSH belt was used as a quick fill-in for the world title match at the Great American Bash that year. Interesting little tidbit for those few of you don’t know. Solid match, by the way. Larry was always screwing Barry over – four years later, he would slam his freakin’ hand in a car door! Who does that to somebody? ***¼

NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair (w/JJ Dillon) vs. Road Warrior Hawk (w/Paul Ellering)

It does makes sense to give one of the biggest spectacles JCP has to offer a title shot in Long Island. Of course, no one with half of a brain would actually think Hawk had a snowball’s chance of winning the belt here. Hawk NO-SELLS chops to start and kills Flair with power moves all over the ring. The first thing that Hawk actually does sell is a blatant low blow. Flair rakes at Hawk’s face and hits the Rolling Knee Drop for two. Hawk gets dumped for some guardrail action. Back in, Flair connects with a double ax handle and another Rolling Knee Drop gets two. Flair ducks low off a whip and Hawk capitalizes with a Reverse Neckbreaker, but then he misses the jumping fist drop and jars his knee. Flair takes Hawk to school and applies the FIGURE-FOUR! Flair starts to use the ropes for leverage, so Hawk gets all pumped up and drags Flair to the center of the ring for the reversal. Flair finally breaks the hold, but heads up top. Will he ever learn? He gets tossed down and Hawk connects with a clothesline that nails both Flair and the ref. Flair takes a clothesline out to the floor and then pulls out Hawk for some posting, but Flair takes the blow instead. Back in, Hawk hits a Powerslam but no ref. Flair begs into the corner, but it’s no use. Hawk delivers a clothesline and stops Flair up on the top rope to give him a superplex! Hawk covers, but dude! There’s no ref. JJ breaks it up with a chairshot to Hawk, but he NO-SELLS. Meanwhile, Ellering’s waking up the ref. Hawk scares JJ off while Flair gets the chair and blasts Hawk in the face. What a weak shot. The ref is back in as Flair covers for 1-2-NO! Flair hits a suplex, but Hawk NO-SELLS that! Flair feels like he has no choice but to go low and nail Hawk with the chair for the blatant DQ. (21:39) Another great broomstick match from the Nature Boy. ***½

The Bunkhouse Stampede Finals

So the object here is to either throw your opponent out the cage door or send him out via the top of the cage. In other words, a cage match battle royal – it’s like the opposite way to win a WWF cage match back in those days and possibly in Dusty Rhodes’ mind (the man who came up with this ridiculous concept), a way to poke fun at the WWF’s style of cage matches. Whatever the case may be, this match sucks and would get crapped on like it was the end of the world in today’s wrestling. Remember when TNA did that reverse battle royal? Yeah, almost as bad as that. Before this match even begins, there were qualifying matches to get into this thing and the winner gets $500 grand. The participants were Tully Blanchard, Arn Anderson, Barbarian, Warlord, Dusty Rhodes, Ivan Koloff, Lex Luger and Road Warrior Animal. Nothing interesting happens until around 10-15 minutes in when finally Ivan Koloff gets eliminated over the top of the cage by Animal. Warlord and Animal go out together through the door. Blanchard and Anderson try for several minutes to get Lex Luger to fall out of the cage door and wind up taking themselves out as well. That leaves Dusty vs. Barbarian. They go back and forth for a few minutes. Barb hits the FLYING HEADBUTT, but still can’t put Dusty away. They climb up on the ropes and Dusty gets Barbarian over the top of the cage. Two Bionic Elbows later and Dusty wins his 3rd straight bunkhouse match. (26:21) There ya go. One of the most boring PPV main events of all-time. It’s unbelievable how Dusty books a concept match completely around himself. Dusty wins a big porcelain-looking boot and a check for $500,000. CRAP

Final Thoughts: Your average fan has probably never heard of or seen this show, and for good reason. Flair works hard enough for two people and Windham/Zbyszko have a decent match, but nothing to go out of your way to see. On the other hand, the main event is just plain horrid and the TV title match was a big letdown for me at least. I have no choice but to go with thumbs down for Bunkhouse Stampede ’88.

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